Disability leaders and community sector representatives unite: doorstop interview

 Disability leaders and community sector representatives unite in push to address jobs crisis for people with disability, amidst growing speculation about possible cuts to income and service supports


  • Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council for Social Service (ACOSS) 
  • Stephen Gianni, National Policy Officer, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)
  • Fiona Given, ACOSS Board Member
  • Craig Harrison, CEO, Disability Employment Australia
  • Maree O’Halloran, Director, Welfare Rights Centre
  • Craig Wallace, President, People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
  • Simon Viereck, Acting CEO, Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA)

When: 12:45PM Friday March 7, 2014

Where: Senate Courtyart, Parliament House, Canberra

Amid current debates about the future of the Disability Support Pension (DSP), leaders from the disability community and national representatives from the welfare sector will meet in Canberra to agree reforms needed to open up job opportunities, and improve income support and employment assistance for people with disability.

The leaders are meeting amongst growing speculation about whether the federal government is planning to move more people with disability off the DSP onto a lower payment, including the much lower and grossly inadequate Newstart Allowance. The group will oppose cuts to income  support, arguing people are already just getting by in the DSP.

The group will release an analysis to show that the nation does not have a DSP or ‘welfare crisis’ but rather a jobs crisis with record low rates of employment of people with disability including in the Commonwealth Public Service.

Representatives emphasise that people with disability want to be in paid work when able. However, people with disability and employer groups must lead reforms together with governments if they are to succeed. Income support and assistance must be adequate z Significantly, action must be taken to address erroneous employer perceptions, misconceived notions of efficiency and productivity drivers, and workplace barriers that lock people out of jobs.

Following the meeting, the group will hold a door stop to announce the outcome of the meeting. Proposals are likely to include how to improve:

  • job opportunities for people with disability
  • employment assistance and support services
  • adequacy of income support when people are unable to be in paid work due to their disability, or can’t get a job.

Media Contact to attend the doorstop or arrange interviews:

ACOSS Media – 0419 626 155